Im glad people dont judge me by some of the things Ive
done. No, Ive never done drugs or been in jail. In fact, though
I was far from perfect, most of the mischief I got into as a youth was
of a relatively minor sort like the time my dad told me not to
climb through the kitchen window and ... well, you know.
Ive often joked about my lack of a testimony. "Yep, when
I was saved out of a life of sin at age 5
." (It is, in
reality, a great testimony to have known Christ from a young age.)
But Ive done a few things Id rather forget. Every once
in a while Ill run into an old friend wholl say, "I
Lucky for me that most of my old friends are old enough that their
memories arent very good. A Sunday school teacher in one of my
pastorates had a great defense for this. When someone related a story
about him, he would claim that he had been confused with someone else.
This is believable the first couple of times, but when the accounts
mount from a variety of sources, people begin to wonder even
if you are a Sunday school teacher.
Of course, if you happen to be a minister, people will cut you no slack.
Youve heard that vicious rumor about clergy being the worst drivers?
(As a youth, I was nearly run over once by my pastor.) This propensity
for mischief among men of the cloth may give you a little insight into
the challenge a Christian college presents to teachers and administration.
Of course, over the years, these stories grow and change. Somewhat
like the old fishing axiom: "Question: What is a fishs greatest
period of growth? Answer: The time between when it got away and when
the fisherman tells how big it was."
During my first (youthful) pastorate, a member of the church spent
considerable time telling other members what a lousy preacher I was.
No one admitted that they agreed with him and I certainly didnt
at the time. But in retrospect, there may have been a point there. He
just didnt have to go and call it to everyones attention.
My point is that, no matter how long weve known the Lord, there
are unpleasant memories from our past. Christmastime often brings those
memories to the surface and makes the season emotional.
But as we wring our hands over the errors of the past, God says, "I
dont remember that." He has cast them into a sea of forgetfulness.
We should do the same.